A History of Base Stealing


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About the Book

The stolen base is one of the most fascinating plays in all of sports. In what other game can one player, even when operating independent of his teammates, seize territory from the defense, alter the strategic considerations on both sides and tilt the situation in favor of his team? In other sports it is the ball (or puck) that must do the scoring; in baseball, however, it is the runner, and base stealing is the runner’s greatest weapon. Not just ball games but entire World Series have turned on a steal.
This book traces the history of the stolen base and stealing in the major leagues from its earliest uses through its current status as an indispensable part of a team’s offense. Also covered are the players who were synonymous with base stealing: Ty Cobb, Luis Aparicio, Maury Wills, Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, and others. The most memorable steals in baseball history are also recalled.

About the Author(s)

Russell Roberts is an award-winning full-time freelance writer. He has published more than 60 books for adults and children. A well-known public speaker, he lives in New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Russell Roberts
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9366-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vii
Introduction       1

1. Diamond Delights and Disasters       5
2. Early Thefts and Thieves       21
3. Cobb: Demon on the Loose       43
4. The Babe Blasts the Steal       63
5. Thriving in the Shadows       81
6. Luis and the Go-Go Sox       103
7. Wills Puts Thievery Back in Style       119
8. Brock’s Ballet on the Base Paths       135
9. Running Wild in the 1970s       149
10. Speed Demons of the 1980s       167
11. Today’s Game       185
12. A Gallery of Thieves (and Would-Be Bandits)       193

Appendix: League-Leading Base Stealers       217
Bibliography       225
Index       227

Book Reviews & Awards

“written for a general audience…will certainly be enjoyed by baseball fans”—Library Journal; “an ode to the princes of thieves…along with a detailed lineage of larceny on the basepaths”—USA Today Sports Weekly; “the written equivalent of two fans talking across the backyard fence about stealing and great basestealers”—The SABR Bulletin; “lively and interesting”—Nine.